Monday, August 1, 2016

I-9 Compliance: When the Way We've Always Done It Isn't Good Enough

By Kathleen Gasparian, Esq.

Say the words “I-9 compliance” in a room of business owners or human resource specialists and listen for the small groans and watch for the inevitable eye rolls. I-9 compliance isn't sexy or exciting; it's frustrating and tedious. It is meticulous and deceptively simple paperwork that goes against our instincts of human interaction, but it is also one where an empty field can equal a fine.

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Prepare Yourself for the Risks When Hiring and Terminating Employees

by Karen A. Monsen, Esq.

Hiring and terminating employees are complex tasks, which are made more difficult by the alphabet soup of statutes affecting those tasks; ADEA, FCRA, FLSA, OWBPA, RIF, and WARN are just a few examples.

Common pitfalls during the hiring process involve asking unlawful questions during interviews, failing to disclose background checks, researching candidates using social media without proper safeguards, and mismanaging the employment eligibility process.

Termination, however, creates a higher likelihood of legal claims, and employers must remain mindful of best practices to avoid being sued.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Drug Testing Your Employees: Invasion of Privacy or Business Need?

by Michael Latimer, Esq.

Drug use by employees on and off the job has been a problem for employers for many years. Consequently, many employers now utilize some form of drug testing for employees and job applicants. Any type of employee drug testing obviously raises privacy concerns for the employee but the issue is particularly sensitive if the employer's policy requires random, unannounced or observed drug testing.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Appellate Court Reinstates Sex-Discrimination Claim of Transgender Worker

by Jonathan T. Hyman, Esq.

A federal appellate court reinstated the sex-discrimination claim of a transgender auto mechanic. Credit Nation Auto Sales fired Jennifer Chavez less than three months after she notified it of her gender transition.

The employer argued that it fired her because it caught her sleeping in a customer's vehicle while on the clock. Even though the court concluded that the employer's reason was "true and legitimate," it nevertheless reversed the trial court's dismissal of the sex-discrimination claim.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

You've Received a Discrimination Charge: Don't Throw It in the Trash!

by Dora Lane, Esq.

When asked about a discrimination charge sent to them months ago, a client once answered "I did not know what to do with it, so I threw it in the trash." Needless to say, that was a bad idea.

Unfortunately, many employers do not understand their obligations when faced with a discrimination charge and that can backfire if the charge is not informally resolved.

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Alcoholism & ADA: Former USC Coach Files Suit Over His Termination

by Jonathan T. Hyman, Esq.

On October 12, University of Southern California (USC) fired its head football coach, Steve Sarkisian. On Tuesday, Sarkisian filed a 31-page, 14-count complaint in California state court challenging his termination. The crux of his claims? That USC violated state disability-discrimination laws by terminating him because of his disability and failing to accommodate his disability—alcoholism.

There is no doubt that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects alcoholism as a disability. The law, however, draws a line between protected addiction and unprotected on-the-job misconduct, even when the former causes the latter.

This case will test the limits of that line.

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Harassment vs. Discrimination vs. Obnoxious Behavior

by Kristi D. Rothschild, Esq.

What Is Harassment?

"[H]arassment consists of conduct outside the scope of necessary job performance, conduct presumably engaged in for personal gratification, because of meanness or bigotry, or for other personal motives."

Roby v. McKesson (2010) 47 Cal.4th 686, 707, citing Reno v. Baird (1998) 18 Cal.4th 640, 645-647.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Retaliation: Climbing the Charts or Not?

by Sarah L. Schreiber, Esq.

The number of charges filed in virtually all areas of discrimination, including retaliation, has increased dramatically over the past fifteen years.

In 1997, 80,680 charges of discrimination were filed with the EEOC. In the EEOC's annual Performance and Accountability Report, released November 17, 2014, the Commission reported 88,778 charges of employment discrimination filed in fiscal year (FY) 2014, a decrease of approximately 5,000 charges from the 93,727 filed in 2013.

In 2013, over 31,400 of the charges asserted claims of retaliation. This represents approximately twice the number of charges for retaliation filed in 1997.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

EEOC Says "Sex" Discrimination Includes Sexual Orientation

by Maureen McDonald Zyglis, Esq.

David Baldwin v. Department of Transportation, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133080

On July 15, 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a decision against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) holding that sexual orientation discrimination is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII. This decision marks an expansion by the Commission of the claims it will entertain to include those upon alleged sexual orientation discrimination.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Expanding Title VII Protection to LGBTQ Workers

by Nicholas Michael Saleh, Esq.

On July 15, 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEOC") ruled in a 3-2 decision that discrimination based on sexual orientation is covered by the prohibition on "sex"-based discrimination in the workplace contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"). See David Baldwin v. Dep't of Transportation, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133080 (July 15, 2015).

The decision follows three weeks after the Supreme Court's historic decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015).

Currently, Title VII does not expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but, as foretold by Adair Buckner in her July 27, 2015 post Employers: Gear Up for Changes in Treatment of Same-Sex Spouses After Supreme Court Ruling, big changes in the law may be coming sooner than expected.

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